Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. It’s January 17th and you’re 17 days into your new habit. You’re feeling pretty smug about being the sort of person who works out every morning, calls your senator every day, inserts-wholesome-activity-here.
In fact, you’re pretty sure that in four days you’ll cross over into the promised land of Established Habit! 21 days to a new you and all that, right?* So when you wake up to an overcast sky or an empty fridge, you’re not too worried about – just this once! – not going to the gym. Or not calling your elected officials. Or not eating breakfast sitting down. It’s just for today! You’ve been so good! Surely you can take a day off! Of course you can. But here’s the thing: When we do something today, we’re making it easier to do it again tomorrow. Click To Tweet
It’s a perfect world and I awake to songbirds, cooing me into consciousness. I eat a surprisingly delicious, kale-filled breakfast and then walk the dog while simultaneously meditating. I settle into a lovely day of writing, phone calls, and catching up with friends. I am wearing a cute outfit, my hair looks amazing, and my home is miraculously spotless. I AM A PARAGON OF POSITIVITY AND PRODUCTIVITY!!!
But, sadly, this isn’t a perfect world. On any given day, it’s entirely possible that I will sleep late, work myself into a headache, avoid phone calls, and/or eat popcorn for every meal. Life happens! Deadlines change, priorities shift, and sometimes I just don’t want to put on real pants, okay? So how do we keep our lives from derailing when things get busy? How do we keep making tiny, incremental steps towards the life we want when we’re nearly too frazzled to function? We make and use an Every Damn Day List.
It’s been a rough few days – overcast weather, doctors appointments, tough conversations – so I decide it’s time to devote a day self-care. I narrow my eyes, take a deep breath, and leannnnn into it. Next stop: Selfcareville, Population: me.
Showers? WHO NEEDS ‘EM.
Carbs? Let’s eat all of them. Preferably topped with melted cheese.
Netflix is on, my sweatpants are on, and the oven is on because I’m making my second pan of pizza rolls.
Also: I don’t need to clean up the kitchen BECAUSE SELF-CARE.
Now, if you’re keeping score, reader, exactly none of these behaviors make me feel better. None of them make up for the overcast weather or the challenges of the last few days. Honestly, I’m using the pizza rolls and Netflix to numb out and avoid doing tough, life-improving things I need to do.
Watching a three hours of Parks And Rec after an exhausting work day? Self-care! Tuning out of our bickering children so we can watch Instagram Stories for 20 minutes? Self-care! Skipping the gym so we can lay in bed for an extra hour? Self-care! And sometimes these are the things we really need to do take care of ourselves and recharge our batteries. Sometimes the only thing that’s going to cure what ails me is a comfy pair of sweats and some processed carbs. But if I’m not careful, I can convince myself that not-particularly-healthy, not-particularly-beneficial behavior qualifies as “self-care.”
Tiffany and I are halfway through our workshop about goal-setting, nattering along at full-speed, when I see the question pop up in the chat box. “All of this is super helpful! But what if I don’t really know how to choose a goal? How do I even figure out where to start?”
That’s the rub, isn’t it? All the habit-making, goal-achieving advice in the world won’t help if you, uh, can’t figure out what goal to go after. And it certainly won’t help if you choose a goal you’re bored with or ambivalent about. I don’t want that for you!
3 questions that will help you choose a goal you’re excited about + will actually stick with
Raise your hand if you’ve been here: It’s Friday night and for the last week you have been an absolute paragon of virtue. You’ve gone 6.5 days without falling down a single Instagram hole.
When you’re waiting in line, avoiding conversation on the bus, killing time while the coffee brews – you’ve manged to resist the siren song of that pink square.
But then you get a notification that you have a direct message. So you log in to see the meme your friend sent and that’s it. You’re off to the races. You’re stalking your ex. You’re hate-watching Instagram stories from your high school nemesis. An hour passes and you emerge bleary-eyed and ashamed. You screwed up, so you might as well give up. You throw away the week of progress, decide that you’re just not the sort of person who can give up social media, and wonder why you even bother trying. Are you nodding along? Giving up on a goal, a resolution, or a habit when we ‘screw up’ is SO COMMON. In fact, it’s one of the most common questions I get in my workshops!
Here’s what to do instead.
How not to give up when you ‘screw up’ on your goals
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